TL;DR: The Bitcoin Cash City Conference in Australia is in full swing, continuing its second day. Yesterday, the emphasis was about bringing attendees up-to-speed on the general state of peer-to-peer electronic cash. Day 2 also brought along those themes, but drilled-down on the importance of culture, building a community capable of increasing worldwide adoption.
Bitcoin Cash City Day 2: The Importance of Culture
Bitcoiner Naomi Brockwell knows a thing or two about cryptocurrency. It might be safe to type she’s one of the most connected, ear-to-the-ground personalities in the space. She hosts her own very popular NBTV program, and continues to be arguably the most popular Mistress of Ceremonies on the crypto conference circuit.
She’s at home among Litecoin enthusiasts as she is BTC maximalists. Heck, she’s even mingled with the likes of EOS proponents. Her good nature and charitable outlook stems from personal economics study, a rabbit hole that confirmed Brockwell’s skepticism about the role of governments in most things, but especially in money.
The advent of cryptocurrency has given new life to the idea money could be finally divorced from the state, allowing innovation and experimentation to take place as it might in other facets of technology and commerce. At the Bitcoin Cash City Conference in Townsville, Australia, professional video producer/director Collin Enstad, host of Collin’ It Like It Is, sat down with Brockwell to get her impressions.
USD is the Original Sh*tcoin
The native Aussie with her trademark red hair, glasses, and smile wasn’t shy. She lauded conference organizers, marveling at how merchants around the resort village were indeed accepting bitcoin cash (BCH). Brockwell insisted further she’s long made peace with the idea BTC is simply not going to compete on that score — it’s a collectible or whatever. BCH’s first use case is compelling, and BTC has gone off in a completely different direction. For Brockwell, it’s simply time, an ecosystem cultural moment, to move on and focus upon real monetary enemies such as the US dollar (USD). USD, she laughed, is the original shitcoin, and trolls should be directing their activity there … not at voluntary crypto choices.
And after a first day of heavily technical topics, the Bitcoin Cash City Conference indeed shifted slightly more toward overt talk of culture. Lead developer for BCH node implementation Bitcoin ABC, Amaury Séchet, gave a formal presentation on Bitcoin Cash culture in particular. Séchet’s lectures are usually code-involved, geared toward those interested in programming particulars. On this occasion, however, he chose to address a pressing issue for the BCH community.
The tech is there for BCH, he quipped. “BCH has better fundamentals. BCH has better products,” he insisted. “BCH is more useful. Yet, BCH’s value is only 3% of BTC.” Why is that so? “It is mostly due to cultural artifacts,” Séchet stressed. “We are reliant on BTC. So are LTC, Dash, Zcash, etc.,” which makes “some desired developments difficult. Taking ownership of large portion of the codebase without the manpower to maintain it is suicide. That reason alone prevents BCH to be worth more than BTC in a rational market.”
Infrastructure and Game Theory
For non-technically savvy folks, Séchet continued, technology just seems to get better and better. They’re not used to thinking about code, for example, as decaying or falling behind. Progress seems to magically happen somehow. “A world-scale project requires world-class engineers,” he noted. “Expertise needs to be valued. Signaling is needed to attract talent. Delegating infrastructure to 3rd parties leaves it susceptible to capture. Successful infrastructure projects are funded by actors who keep each other in check. Investing in infrastructure is an insurance policy.”
It is something Séchet has been talking more and more about in public. He believes BCH to be vulnerable due to a lack of attention. Left alone, decay will set in, and worse. Code needs constant maintenance at its base level, and that requires enough software engineers tending to the project, something he fears BCH lacks in a big way.
“To scale we need capacity planning,” he shared with the audience. Due to the culture of BCH at the moment, with a lack of proper infrastructure as he sees it, the community is basically telling an interested engineer with the necessary skillset “if they join BCH their competence will be ignored. They will have to deal with the consequences.” As a result, “they will likely not join BCH unless that changes.”
Séchet then turned to strategy going forward, examining an aspect of game theory called a Schelling point. Named after Thomas Schelling, the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist explained it as a “focal point for each person’s expectation of what the other expects him to expect to be expected to do.” How do we know what our partners are truly feeling about the project? How can we tell? Words are easy. Séchet believes more than words are needed for BCH to reach the next level.
He cited the work of Justin Bons and his company, Cyber Capital, as a prime example. Séchet said both have “a strong BCH position,” making them “immediately credible when he supports BCH. Skin in the game.” He contrasted that with basic investors. “In the face of perceived weaknesses, investors diversify. Leaders fix the weakness.” Leaders are committed.
Commitment to the project means avoiding weakening strategies, giving-in on even seemingly trivial issues. “Our Schelling points are weak,” Séchet posited. “We must require from our leaders to have skin in the game. If they do not, they are investors, not leaders.” It’s the kind of frank, candid discussion he is known for, but it’s also a hallmark the Bitcoin Cash community increasingly prides itself on. The audience appeared more than willing to hear his version of a strategic future and how the project should move forward, and continued to engage Séchet after his formal remarks. It’s like a poker hand, he mused: if you have a strong set of cards but do not play them right … it’s pointless for you to have ever had those cards in the first place.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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